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J.T. Landrum, R.A. Bone; Preferential Deficiency of Meso-Zeaxanthin and Lutein Relative to Zeaxanthin in the Macular Pigment of Subjects with Age-Related Macular Degeneration . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2003;44(13):3559.
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Purpose: To compare the levels of individual components of the macular pigment, lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin, in autopsy eyes from donors with and without age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Methods: Autopsy eyes, fixed in formalin, were obtained from the National Disease Research Interchange and the Florida Lions Eye Bank. Retinas were removed and sectioned using 3, 11, and 21 mm trephines into a disk centered on the fovea ("inner"), and two concentric annuli ("medial" and "outer"). Carotenoids were extracted from each sample into hexane after addition of a known amount of an internal standard. The resulting samples were analyzed by reversed-phase HPLC separating and quantifying the lutein and total zeaxanthin. The zeaxanthin fraction was derivatized to form dicarbamate derivatives. The derivatized samples were analyzed on a normal phase HPLC system to separate and quantify the zeaxanthin stereoisomers. Results: 28 eyes from 18 donors with AMD (average age 82.5±8.3 yrs) and 15 control eyes from 10 donors without AMD (average age 77.5±7.4 yrs) were analyzed. The percentage changes in total carotenoids, meso-zeaxanthin/zeaxanthin ratio, and lutein/zeaxanthin ratio for AMD eyes compared with controls are given in the Table I. AMD donor eyes were found to have lower carotenoid levels than control eyes with the largest differences occurring in the central 3 mm and the surrounding annulus (11 mm outer diameter), i.e. from the fovea out to the optic disk. Relative to RR-zeaxanthin, meso-zeaxanthin showed a disproportionate decrease in all 3 retinal areas for AMD eyes relative to controls. Similarly, lutein relative to RR-zeaxanthin, showed a decrease in the medial and outer regions, but a small increase in the inner region. Conclusions: Retinal carotenoids have been detected both in the photoreceptor axons and the rod outer segments. The process by which meso-zeaxanthin is formed and where it occurs is unknown. These results suggest that in AMD these processes may be compromised. Table I. View OriginalDownload SlideView OriginalDownload Slide
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